PruittHealth, CareRite, Signature Represented on Federal Nursing Home Commission

The 25 members of a federal commission tasked with analyzing nursing home safety in the wake of COVID-19 were announced Friday, with leaders from operators PruittHealth, Signature HealthCARE, and CareRite among the selected stakeholders.

Initially announced by President Trump at the end of April, the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes will be tasked with dissecting the response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contracted third-party firm MITRE to select the commission’s members, with MITRE chief medical and technology officer Dr. Jay Schnitzer serving as moderator.

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“The commission members are leaders who bring decades of experience in nursing home management as well as safety and quality,” Schnitzer said in a statement. “This diverse group will act quickly to identify and communicate best practices for protecting nursing home residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

The group of long-term care professionals includes representatives from various parts of the long-term care continuum, including operators, academics, resident advocates, and academic researchers.

Among the industry leaders on the panel:

  • Neil Pruitt, Jr., CEO of Georgia-based nursing home operator PruittHealth
  • Roya Agahi, incoming chief nursing officer of operator CareRite and former chief nursing officer for the post-acute care service line of NYC Health + Hospitals
  • Camille Rochelle Jordan, senior vice president of clinical operations and innovation for the Louisville, Ky.-based operator Signature HealthCARE
  • Rosie Lyles, director of clinical affairs for the Illinois-based medical supply distributor Medline Industries
  • Dallas Taylor, director of nursing for the Eliza Bryant Village senior housing and care campus in Cleveland
  • Mark Burket, CEO of Platte Health Center Avera, a nursing facility in Platte, S.D.
  • Debra Fournier, chief operating officer of Maine Veterans’ Homes
  • Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO, LeadingAge California
  • Janet Snipes, executive director, Holly Heights Nursing Home of Colorado

Members from other parts of the post-acute care landscape consist of:

  • Lisa Brown, professor of psychology at Palo Alto University
  • Eric Carlson, directing attorney, Justice in Aging
  • Michelle Dionne-Vahalik, associate commissioner of the Texas State Health and Human Services Commission
  • Terry Fulmer, president, The John A. Hartford Foundation
  • Candace Goehring, director, Washington state Department of Social and Health Services, Aging and Long-Term Support Administration
  • David Grabowski, professor of health care policy, Harvard University
  • Jessica Kalender-Rich, medical director for post-acute care, University of Kansas Health System
  • Marshall Barry Kapp, professor emeritus of law, Florida State University
  • Morgan Jane Katz, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University
  • Beverley Laubert, state long-term care ombudsman, Ohio Department of Aging
  • G. Adam Mayle, administrative director of facilities, Memorial Health System of Florida
  • David Nace, president, AMDA — The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
  • Lori Porter, CEO, National Association of Health Care Assistants
  • Penelope Ann Shaw, nursing home resident and advocate, Braintree Manor Healthcare
  • Lori Smetanka, executive director, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
  • Patricia Stone, professor of health policy in nursing, Columbia University

Mitre selected the group of 25 from more than 800 applicants from around the country. Through regular virtual meetings, the group will work to develop both short- and long-term solutions to issues in the field, including best practices for preventing transmission of COVID-19 in nursing homes; a framework for better overall infection control; improved emergency preparedness strategies; and new data sources that could help coordinate emergency response among federal, state, and local authorities.

The group will submit a complete report on its findings to CMS by September 1.

“The response to the call for nominations was tremendous, and we’re appreciative of all the applicants’ interest and willingness to serve on the commission,” Schnitzer said. “We’re excited to be underway.”

Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association, praised the inclusion of industry leaders on the final roster of commission members.

“Nursing homes cannot beat this pandemic alone, and focusing on enforcement and penalties neither recognizes the nature of the virus nor solves the problem,” Parkinson said in a statement. “Providers need the support of public health officials to prioritize our residents and help facilities acquire the necessary resources. We hope the independent commission will address this critical need.”

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